Robert Reich: Wall Street Sleaze Keeps Growing
Just when you thought Wall Street couldn’t sink any lower - when its excesses are still causing hardship to millions of Americans and its myriad abuses of public trust have already spread a miasma of cynicism over the entire economic system - an even deeper level of public-be-damned greed and corruption is revealed.
Sit down, and hold on to your chair.
Consider the most basic services banks provide you: You put your savings in a bank to hold in trust, and the bank agrees to pay you interest on it. Or, you borrow money from the bank and agree to pay the bank interest on the loan.
We trust that the banking system is setting interest rates based on its best guess about the future worth of the money. And we assume that guess is based, in turn, on the cumulative market predictions of lenders and borrowers all over the world (including central banks) about the future supply and demand for the dough.
But suppose our assumption is wrong. Suppose the bankers are manipulating the interest rate so they can place bets with the money you lend or repay them - bets that will pay off big for them because they have inside information on what the market is really predicting, which they’re not sharing with you.